Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Chocolate Pound Cake

Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Sourcream Poundcake

Oh, my.

I'm pretty sure that I don't need to spend even a moment telling you that a Dorie Greenspan recipe was fabulous. Of course I don't - her reputation precedes her. (Her compliments, thousands of them, trail behind her, too!) This was a very easy, very tasty, very chocolatey pound cake, and, like all of Dorie's recipes, it was perfectly written and turned out as promised.

I love pound cake. My mom makes a killer plain one - I've no doubt she's made about 500 of them. (Right, mama?) I've eaten my fair share of pound cake, too, but as the name implies pound cakes are likely to pack the pounds on the hips. But how can you say no when there is whipped cream - vanilla ice cream and strawberries - to pile on top of a warm, fresh piece? Or maybe there's chocolate ice cream and chocolate sauce to pour on. Or perhaps there's a bit of peanut butter calling out to a leftover piece the next morning....

Chocolate poundcake, however, I prefer plain, but I would be hard-pressed to turn down a piece iced with chocolate frosting and served with raspberry sauce, or freshly sliced strawberries. Good God I'm drooling on the keyboard. With pound cake you just can't go wrong! What's Cooking America says that pound cake was traditionally made with a pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. Apparently, literacy being not at its highest, this simple recipe was easy to remember. There was no leavener added other than the air whipped into the batter. And that is the reason I particularly love pound cake - its density. I love pies, cookies and dense cakes such as pound cakes and cheese cakes. Fluffy is nice, but not as appealing to my senses! Ah, those Brits. (Pound cake is a British convention, apparently, and dates to 1700.) Pounds of butter and sugar ... they really knew what they were doing!

I, of course, turned to a favorite cookbook, Baking: From My Home to Yours, by Mrs. Greenspan. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. BUY THIS BOOK. If you love to bake, you'll love Dorie's recipes! It would make a great birthday or shower gift, too, considering this is high wedding season ...

Chocolate Pound Cake
Adapted from the Playing Around instructions for Cocoa Pound Cake in Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours
Printer-friendly recipe

Ingredients
1 and 2/3 cups all-purpose flour (or 1 and 3/4 cups cake flour)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a 9x5 or smaller loaf pan, and place it on a baking sheet.
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate, large bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed of mixer, and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla extract. Reduce mixer speed to low and add flour, blending just until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan.
4. Bake 45 minutes before checking. If top is becoming overbaked, cover it loosely with foil. If you're using a 9x5 pan, bake about 30 minutes more. A smaller pan may need up to 45 minutes more. The cake is baked when a cake tester comes out clean.